California seeing lower costs for renewable electricity

Thursday, February 9, 2012 @ 09:02 AM
posted by rene5432

California is one of the most progressive states in supporting renewable electricity, and a new report from the state Public Utility Commission suggests that the state is slowly gaining real benefits from its investment, according to Forbes.

While many utilities have opposed renewable electricity on the grounds of high costs, it might strike some as odd that projects as far back as 2003 produced energy at rates as low as 5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

But those electricity rates grew steadily over the past decade, reaching as high as 13.3 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2011.

There are many reasons behind that rise, but perhaps the more important fact has been that, in the past three years, the state has seen the costs of new projects decline 30 percent as solar power systems plummeted in price. Indeed, last year alone the state received bids to build more than 91 gigawatts of renewable power plants, roughly one-and-a-half times the state's actual energy needs.

Bloomberg reports that many of the higher-priced projects could end up costing California substantially less than initially proposed as well, with some of the most expensive being abandoned in favor of low-cost solar power installations.

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